9 things to think about when travelling alone

This is an excerpt out of an email I sent through as an update for October. You can sign up for more like this here.

San Francisco sunset.

San Francisco sunset.

I’m on a flight home after a month or so in the US. It’s 13-hours long.

I could watch all of Season 2 of West World. Or I could do some writing. I figured why not do both.

1. Relationships matter most.

I went to the States with 2 nights accommodation booked. The rest I’d figure out along the way.

Most of my stays were with friends or friends of friends. First was with Madison in Sacramento. Then my godfather Damo (Big Easy), Rick & Kell in Austin. Then Damo and I kicked it in one of his friends NYC apartments. It had an epic view of the One World Trade Center.

Damo had spent a couple years in the States prior made a bunch of friends. When he came back, they welcomed him with open arms.

‘Damien is the best!’ - Head of Security of the Empire State Building.

Seeing the sights is great but emotions are best experienced shared. Things are cool too but people are more important.

Wherever you go, keep your relationships with others the top priority.

2. Perspective. 

There are so many things going on in the world. So many people with lives as deep and intricate as your own. I learned a word to describe the feeling, sonder. And travelling makes you feel it.

All the problems you have, others are facing the same issues.

What to do in the world, how to get money for the next week, what challenges to take on.

Technology has made the world smaller but it’s still a big place.

3. No plans are great plans. 

The best art is made by artists who don’t know how it’s going to work out. The best adventures are those where the outcome is unknown.

I had some of the most fun walking through the streets. No objectives. No itinerary.

‘What did you do today?’ I asked.

‘We went for a cycle through the park and over the Golden Gate Bridge,’ Iva said. She's an astrophysicist at NASA.

‘Wow, how was it?’

‘It was really great, you should do it!’

‘I’ll do it tomorrow.’

Then I did it. It was windy and my hands froze. I struggled to take a selfie afterwards.

My bike got a flat tire 5 miles from home. I pushed it a for a mile, then onto the ferry to get back. Bagpipes played as I walked on.

‘I’m going to get a hot meal when I get home,’ I thought.

Spicy ramen never tasted so good.

4. Lots of nothing.

One day I sat in the park and watched people for a while.

I thought about the future. I don’t know how long for.

Then I went for a walk and found a library. I went upstairs and found a chess room. I sat down with Guy.

‘I met Robin Williams once,’ he said, ‘I nearly laughed my ass off.’

‘That’s amazing, I love Robin Williams.’

'Hey, did I tell you I was in a movie once?'

'No, tell me more.'

He told me, then he beat me 4-0 in chess.

I walked back out and look around. I had nothing to do so I kept doing it.

Plenty of good thinking time.

5. Packing light.

I took a bag with about 12 things in it. I didn’t have to check any baggage at the airport so I could get through quick.

I still missed two flights though.

But packing light also meant I had to choose wisely what I wanted to bring.

It also meant I didn’t have room to buy anything. Do you really need 8 shirts?

My bag was a metaphor for how I try to live. Less but better.

6. Staying healthy. 

Biology doesn’t go on vacation. The wheels are spinning 24/7/365.

There were a lot of great food options in the US. Too many. Whole Foods was a wonderland. I could live there.

Many health problems arise from excess body fat. So my objective was to prevent myself from gaining too much.

I knew some of my muscle would go because it wasn’t being used but it wasn’t an excuse to replace it with fat.

To stay lean, I fasted as often as possible. The same protocol as when I’m home.

Avoid consuming calories outside of 12pm-8pm. This didn’t always happen but the mindset was there.

We made sure to do some form of workout every other day, however, light it may have been. The body loves movement. Walking and exploring the streets also added to the movement tally.

7. Keeping a journal. 

Every couple of days I’d write down what I’d been up to.

Writing it down was like reliving the same experience twice. Like watching a movie for the second time, the little details stood out even more.

I didn’t have many plans but more things happened than expected.

The cool thing about keeping a journal is you can go back in 10-years and read the story of your trip. Or share the places you went to with others.

It’s also another time to stop and think. 

8. Planes.

I caught 5 flights in total. Almost two days worth of flying.

Planes still scare me a little. The speed, the height, the numerous episodes of Plane Crash Investigation. 

I don’t catch planes very often so I use them as a way of checking-in with myself to see if I’m living how I want to be living.

When we’re sitting on the tarmac. I ask myself, ‘Am I ready for this to go down?’.

The answer was yes. But I know there’s still plenty more I want to do.

Mortality aside, there are two more things to note for your future plane travels. 

1. Aside from take off and landing, the aisle seat is best. Sure, you don’t get as good a view but you trade that for the seat of power. You can get up whenever you want and don’t have to wake a sleeping stranger to take a piss. If you’re on a long-haul flight, choose the aisle.

2. Dehydration will increase your jet lag and hunger. Planes such the moisture of you. The pressure in the cabin dries you up. If you don’t load up on the water, this will make you hungrier (hence the 3000+ calories) and worsen your jet lag. Keep your piss clear and regular — another reason to take the aisle seat. 

9. Coming home.

Are you excited to go home?

If not, what could you change? You don’t even have to go away to ask this question. You could change it.

Are you excited to work on what you’re working on?

I loved my trip but I’m excited to head home.

First of all, Summer is coming up and I can’t wait to feel some heat, second, I’m working on some fun projects.

That’s enough.

The best vacations are the ones you don’t need to take. 

Did I need one? No. But I’m glad I took one. Time away builds the heart.

That’s about it from this trip. I’m thinking New Zealand or Vietnam next.

Where’s your next adventure?

This is an excerpt out of an email I sent through as an update for October. You can sign up for more like this here.